After watching Ireland demolish Gibraltar this weekend, thanks in main to another man of the match performance from Robbie Keane, it reminded me of a post I wrote from November 14th, 2011. Almost 3 full years later, it seems even more relevant now than it did back under the Giovanni Trapattoni era - when a lot was been said about removing Robbie from the starting 11. Some even called for him to retire altogether. I could easily have written the exact piece this week with a few minor detail changes.
Do us all a favour Robbie - Retire from international football, effective immediately.
Thanks for everything Robbie.
You’ve done your best.
You really have.
But being honest - it just wasn’t quite good enough.
Now don’t you think it’s time you did us Irish a favour and retired from international football?
Preferably before the European Championships.
Preferably before Tuesday’s return leg against Estonia.
Let’s just say your performance in the first leg was the final straw.
Quite simply, you were muck.
I know you got 2 goals in an important match.
But 1 was a peno in fairness...
I know you set up Jon Walters with a brilliant cross.
As well as playing Stephen Hunt through to win the peno.
And you were also the player who drew the 2 fouls which saw 2 Estonians sent off.
But to be honest Robbie, I’m looking for more from an Irish striker these days than 2 goals, 1 and a half assists and getting 2 players sent off through your quickness of thought and speed of movement.
I want to see more to strikers in general than just goals and assists actually.
People will argue that you have 53 international goals.
More than Shearer, Owen, Lineker, Keegan or Charlton.
More than Rush, Hughes, Dalglish, Law or Best.
In fact, more than any British player.
Even though most of them were playing for far superior teams than you at the time.
But I always just felt your goals came against lesser nations.
And while Ireland never had a player good enough to score against the lesser nations until you came along, it’s the big games that count.
Like a Play-Off for a major tournament.
People will say you played in 4 Play-Offs and scored in 4 Play-Offs.
But I see the fact that you only scored 5 goals from those 6 games as being the reason we didn’t qualify from more of them.
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself that you scored 3 goals (plus 1 more in the shoot-out) in the World Cup in 2002 and they were big games.
But one of those was against Saudi Arabia.
I don’t even know where that is Robbie.
I’ll give you the goals against Germany and Spain.
You deserve some credit.
But that still doesn’t change the fact that you are only really capable of scoring at home.
Away games against Holland, Italy and France excluded of course.
Or that cracker you got against Holland when we won 1-0.
Cause that was only a friendly.
But now it’s time for change.
Kevin Doyle is a much better player anyway.
He is 28 now and although Mick McCarthy is the only manager to spend proper money on him, it was €7.5m well spent.
Unlike yourself, who has had Gordon Strachan, Marcello Lippi, Dave O’Leary, Glenn Hoddle, Rafa Benitez and Harry Redknapp spend over €90m on you.
Kevin could get a move to someone like Internazionale, it’s just Wolves won’t sell him, that’s all.
Then there’s Shane Long as well.
23 goals in the Championship and West Bromwich Albion immediately threw €5.2m at Reading for him.
Yes Robbie, West Bromwich Albion.
And now we also have Leon Best.
He’s scored in 2 separate games in the Premier League this season.
He must start.
Along with Jon Walters.
He is also 28 and despite the fact that when you were 28 you had 33 internationals to your name, this guy has scored 3 goals in the Premier League this season.
3 goals Robbie.
He has to start ahead of you.
So, I appreciate your commitment and loyalty to the Irish side over the past 14 seasons but really, we’re not looking for someone who will turn up for every game and give 100% commitment no matter what.
You have given more to this country on the football pitch than anyone could ever ask of a player and have never once complained - but it’s time to move on now Robbie.
So all the Irish supporters who aren’t ‘fans’ of yours can experience what it’s going to be like when we’re well and truly fucked without you...